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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 5, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST

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years to come. the visionary, the leaner, less expensive military as america scales back from two warses overseas and adjust to a time budgets are fighting for everybody. mike vick rare ka at the white house with more and colonel jack jacobs in studio. we expect the president to talk about how much leaner this budget is going to be, talking hundreds of billions of dollars. >> primarily out of the army and marine corps as well, part of what is interesting beyond the substance of this, very significant here in the history of military spending and posture of american forces is the very new. the president has chosen to be the first president ever, as far as we can tell, to make the trip across the river down to the pentagon, a pear in the briefing room before pentagon reporters and they are doing this really to gain our attention, the venue is part of a message here and the president's seeking to punctuate and emphasize the fact that when he took office there were 180,000 forces positions in
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iraq and afghanistan and the president trying to emphasize the fact that he has followed through on his promises. obviously, the war -- the american involvement in iraq from a combat perspective has ended and afghanistan after the surge, the drawdown is already under way now, with forces scheduled to be withdrawn or at least afghan forces in the lead by 2014. we can expect the president to talk about that. >> here we go the president and secretary of defense arriving in the room. let's justin in. thank you, mike. >> good morning, everybody. the united states of america is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known and in small measure that is because we built the best-trained, the best-led,
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best-equipped military in history. and as commander in chief, i'm going to keep it that way. indeed, all of us on this stage, every single one of us, had a profound responsibility to every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman who puts their life on the line for america. we owe them a strategy with well-defined goals, to only send them into harm's way when it's absolutely necessary, to give them the equipment and the support that they need to get the job done and to care for them and their families when they come home. that is our solemn obligation. and over the past three years, that's what we've done. we have continued to make historic investments in our military, our troops and their capabilities, our military families and our veterans. and thanks to their extraordinary service, we have ended our war in iraq. we have decimated al qaeda's
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leadership. we have delivered justice to osama bin laden. and we have put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. we have made important progress in afghanistan and we have begun to transition so afghans can assume more responsibility for their own security. we joined allies and partners to protect the libyan people as they ended the regime of moammar gadhafi. and now we are turning the page on a decade of war. three years ago, we had some 180,000 troops in iraq and afghanistan. today, we have cut that number in half. and as the transition in afghanistan continues, more of our troops will continue to come home. more broadly, around the globe, we have strengthened alliances, formed new partnerships and served as a force for universal rights and human dignity. in short, we have succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing
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the number of americans in harm's way and we have restored america's global leadership. that makes us safer and it makes us stronger. and the that is an achievement that every american, especially those americans who are proud to wear the uniform of the united states armed forces should take great pride in. this success has brought our nation once more to a moment of transition, even as our troops continue to fight -- to fight in afghanistan, the tide of war is receding. even as our forces prevail in today's mission, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to look ahead to the force that we are going to need in the future. at the same time, with to have renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength around the world and that includes putting our fiscal house in order. to that end, the budget control
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act passed by congress last year with the support of republicans and democrats alike mandates reductions in federal spending, including defense spending. i've insisted that we do that responsibly. the security of our nation and the lives of our men and women in uniform depend on it. and that's why i called for this comprehensive defense review, to clarify our strategic interests in a fast-changing world and to guide our defense priorities in spending over the coming decade, because the size and the structure of our military and defense budgets have to be driven by a strategy, not the other way around. moreover, we have to remember the lessons of history. we can't afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past. after world war ii, after vietnam, when our military was left ill-prepared for the future. as commander in chief, i will not let that happen again.
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not on my watch. we need a start -- we need a smart, strategic set of priorities. the new guidance that the defense department is releasing today does just that i want to thank secretary panetta and general dempsey for their extraordinary leadership during this process. i want to thank the service secretaries and chiefs, the combatant commanders and so many defense leaders, military and civilian, active guard and reserve, for their contributions. many of us met repeatedly, asking tough questions, challenging our own assumptions and making hard choices. and we have come together today around an approach that will keep our nation safe and our military the finest that the world has ever known. this review also benefits from the contributions of leaders across my national security team from the departments of state, homeland security and veterans
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affairs as well as the intelligence community. and this is critical, because meeting the challenges of our time cannot be the work of our military alone. or the united states alone t requires all elements of our national power working together in concert with our allies and our partners. so, i'm going to let leon and marty go into the details but i just want to say that this effort reflects the guidance that i personally gave throughout this process. yes, the tide of war is receding but the question that this strategy answers is what kind of military will we need long after the wars of the last decade are over? and today, we are fortunate to be moving forward from a position of strength. as i made clear in australia, we will be strengthening our presence in the asia pacific and budget reductions will not come at the expense of that critical region. we are going to continue investing in our critical partnerships and the alliances,
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including nato, which has demonstrated time and again, most recently in libya, that it is a force multiplier. we will stay vigilant, especially in the middle east. as we look beyond the wars in iraq and afghanistan and the end of long-term nation-building with large military footprints, we will be able to ensure our security was smaller, conventional ground forces. we will continue to get rid of outdated cold war-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities that we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counterterrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction, and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access. so yes, our military will be leaner, but the world must know the united states is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces
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that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats. we are also going to keep faith with those who serve by making sure our troops have the equipment and capabilities they need to succeed and by prioritizing efforts that focus on wounded warriors, mental health and the well-being of our military families. and as our newest vet traps ee rejoin civilian life, we will work to give our veterans the care, benefits and job on heintz they deserve and that they have earned. finally, although today about our defense strategy, i want to close with a word about the defense budget that will flow from this strategy. the details will be announced in the coming weeks. some will no doubt say that the spending reductions are too big. others will say that they are too small. it will be easy to take issue
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with a particular change in a particular program but i encourage all of us to remember what president eisenhower once said that each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration. the need to maintain balance in and among national programs. after a decade of war and as we rebuild the source of our strength at home and abroad, it's time to restore that balance. i think it's important for all americans to remember, over the past ten years, since 9/11, our defense budget grew at an extraordinary pace. over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this, it will still grow. because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership. in fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the bush
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administration. and i firmly believe, and i think the american understand that we can keep our military strong and our nation secure with a defense budget that continues to be larger than roughly the next ten countries combined. so again, i want to thank secretary panetta, chairman dempsey, all the defense leaders are on this stage and some who are absent, for their leadership and their partnership throughout this process. our men and women in uniform give their very best to america every single day and in return, they deserve the very best from america. and i thank all of you for the commitment to the goal that we all share, keeping america strong and sick your in the 21st century and keeping our armed forces the very best in the world. and with that i will turn this discussion over to leon and to marty, who can explain more and take your questions.
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so, thank you very much. i understand this is the first time a president has done this. it is a pretty nice room. thank you, guys. >> that closes out the remarks by president obama explaining to all of us how they plan to make the military leernt next ten years. as he said, secretary of defense robert gates now coming up to the microphones to address the reporters in the room and we are going to listen to some of that as well. i want to remind that you we have msnbc military analyst jack jacobs on set with me and mike vak viqueira at the white house and we will double back with them after we hear brief from the defense secretary there. again, talking about the fact that the strategy going forward is not to do anything to stop the growth of our military, just to take a more strategic look at how to economically make it smarter and bolder for the future. let's listen in.
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>> let me begin by thanking president obama for coming here to the pentagon this morning. and also, in particular, to thank him for his vision and guidance and leadership as this department went through a very intensive review that we undertook to try to develop a new strategic guidance that we are releasing today and in my experience, this has been an unprecedented process, to have the president of the united states participate in discussions involving the development of a defense strategy. and to spend time with our service chiefs and spend time with our combatant commanders to get their views. it's truly unprecedented. this guidance that we are releasing today and which has
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been distributed now throughout the department, it really does represent an historic shift to the future and it recognizes that this country is at a strategic turning point, after a decade of war and after large increases in defense spending. as the president mentioned, the u.s. military's mission in iraq has now ended. we do have continued progress in afghanistan. it's tough and it remains challenging but we are beginning to enable transition to afghan security responsibility. the nato effort in libya has concluded with the fall of gadhafi and targeted counterterrorism efforts have significantly weakened al qaeda
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and decimated its leadership. and now, as these events are occurring, congress has mandated by law that we achieve significant defense savings. so, clearly, we are at a turning point. but even as our large-scale military campaigns recede, the united states still faces complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe. and unlike past drawdowns when often times the threats that the country was facing went away, the fact is there remain a number of challenges that we have to confront, challenges that call for reshaping of america's defense priorities, focusing on the continuing threat of violent extremism, which is still there and still to be dealt with, proliferation of lethal weapons and materials,
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the destabilizing behavior of nations like iran and north korea. the rise of new powers across asia and the dramatic changes that we have seen unfold in the middle east. all of this comes at a time when america confronts a very serious deficit and debt problem at home, a problem which itself is a national security risk that is squeezing both the defense and domestic budgets. even as we face these considerable pressure, including the requirement of the budget control act to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over ten years, i do not believe, and i've said this before that we have to choose between our
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national security and fiscal responsibility. the department of defense will play its part in helping the nation put its fiscal house in order. the president has made clear, and i've made clear, that the savings that we've been mandated to achieve must be driven by strategy and must be driven by rigorous analysis, not by numbers alone. consequently, over the last few months, we have conducted an intensive review to try to guide defense priorities and spending over the coming decade. all of this in light of the strategic guidance we receive and discussions with the president and the recommendations of this department's both senior military and civilian leadership, both of them
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provided these recommendations. this process enabled us to assess risks, set priorities and make some very hard choices. let me be clear again, the department would need to make a strategic shift regardless of the nation's fiscal situation. we are at that point in history. that is the reality of world we live in. fiscal crisis has forced us to face this strategic shift that is taking place now. as difficult as it may be to achieve the mandated defense savings, this has given all of us in the department of defense the opportunity to reshape our defense strategy and force structure to more effectively meet the challenges of the future, to deter aggression, to shape the security environment and to decisively prevail in any
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conflict. from the beginning, i set out to ensure that this strategy review would be inclusive. chairman dempsey and i met frequently with department leaders, including our undersecretaries, the service chiefs, the service secretary, combat at that moment commanders, senior enlisted advis advisers, we also discuss this strategy and implications obviously with the president, his national security advisers, members of congress and with outside experts. there are four overarching principles that have guided our deliberations and i have said this at the very beginning as we began this process. one, we must maintain the world's finest military, one that supports and sustains the unique global leadership role of the united states in today's world. two we must avoid who will league out the force. a smaller, ready and well-equipped military is much more preferable to a larger, ill-prepared force that has been
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arbitrarily cut across the border. third, savings must be achieved in a balanced manner with everything on the table, including politically sensitive areas that will likely provoke opposition from parts of the congress, from industry and from advocacy groups. that's the nature of making hard choices. four, we must preserve the quality of the all-volunteer force and not break faith with our men and women in uniform or their families. with these principals in mind, i will focus on some of the significant strategic choices and shifts that are being made. the united states military -- let me be very clear about this the united states military will remain capable across the
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spectrum. we will continue to conduct a complex set of missions, ranging from counterterrorism, ranging from countering weapons of mass destruction to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. we will be fully prepared to protect our interests, defend our homeland and support civil authorities. our goal to achieve the u.s. force for the future involves the following significant changes. first, the u.s. joint force will be smaller and it will be leaner. but its great strength will be that it will be more agile, more flexible, ready to deploy quickly, innovative and technologically advanced.
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that is the force for the future. second, as we move toward this new joint force we are balancing our global posture and presence, manufacture sizing the pacific and the middle east. these are the areas where we see the greatest challenges for the future. the u.s. military will increase its institutional weight and focus on enhanced presence, power projection and deterrence in asia pacific. this region is growing in importance to the future of the united states. in terms of our economy and our national security. this means, for instance, improving cape bill pits that main tape our military's technological edge and freedom of action. at the same time, the united states will place a premium in maintaining our military presence and capabilities in the
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broader middle east. the united states and our partners must remain capable of deterring and defeating agreg, while supporting political progress and reform. third, the united states will continue to strengthen its key alliances, to build partnerships and to develop innovative twice sustain u.s. presence elsewhere in the world. a long history of close political cooperation with allies and partners will be critical in address the challenge of the 21st century. we will invest in the shared capabilities and responsibilities of nato, our most effective military alliance. the u.s. military's force posture in europe will, of necessi necessity, continue to adapt and evolve to meet new challenges and opportunities, particularly
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in light of the security needs of the continent relative to the emerging strategic priorities that we face elsewhere. we are committed to sustaining a presence that will meet our article 5 commitments, deter aggression and the u.s. military will work closely with our allies to aflour the kinds of coalition operations that nato has undertaken in libya and afghanistan. in latin america, africa, elsewhere in the world, we will use innovative methods to sustain u.s. presence, maintaining key military-to-military relations and pursuing new security partnerships as needed. wherever possible, we will develop low-cost and small footprint approaches to achieving our security objectives, emphasizing rotational deployments,
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emphasizing exercises, military exercises with these nations and doing other innovative approaches to maintain a presence throughout the rest of the world. fourth, as we shift the size and composition over ground, air and naval forces, we must be capable of successfully confronting and defeating any aggressor and respond to the changing nature of warfare. our strategy review concluded that the united states must have the capability to fight several conflicts at the same time. we are not confronting obviously the threats of the past. we are confronting the threats of the 21st century and that demands greater flexibility to shift and deploy forces to be
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able to fight and defeat any enemy anywhere. how we defeat the enemy may very well vary across conflicts. but make no mistake, we will have the capability to confront and defeat more than one adversary as a time. as a global force, our military will never be doing only one thing. they will be responsible for a range of mission and activities across the globe of varying scope, duration and strategic priority. this will place a premium on flexible and adaptable forces that can respond quickly and effectively to a variety of can contingency of adversaries, that is the nature of the world we are dealing with. in addition to these forces, united states will emphasize building the capacity of our
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partners and allies to more effectively defend their own territo territory, their own interests through a better use of diplomas circumstance development and security force assistance. in accordance with this construct, and with the end of u.s. military commitments in iraq and the drawdown that is already under way in afghanistan, the army and marine corpss will no longer need to be sized to support the large-scale long-term military operations that dominated military priorities and forced generation over the past decade. lastly, as we reduce the overall defense budget, we will protect, and in some cases increase our investments in special operations forces in new
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technologies, like isr and unmanned systems, in space and in particular, in cyberspace capabilities. and also, our capacity to quickly mobilize if necessary. these investments will help the military retain and continue to refine and institutionalize the expert teapert tease and capabi that have been gained at such great cost over the last decade. and most importantly, we will structure and pace the reductions in the nation's ground forces in such a way that they can surge, regenerate and mobilize capabilities needed for any contingency. building in reverseability and the ability to quickly mobilize will be a key. that means re-examining the mix of elements in the active and
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reserve components. it means maintaining a strong national guard and reserve. it means retaining a healthy cadre of experienced ncos and midgrade officers. and preserving the health and viability of the nation's defense industrial base. the strategic guidance that we are providing is the first step in this department's goal to build the joint force of 2020, a force sized and shaped differently than the military of the cold war, the postcold war force of the 1990s or the force that was built over the past decade to engage in large-scale ground wars. this strategy and vision will guide the more specific budget decisions that will be finalized
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and announced in the coming weeks as part of the president's budget. in some cases, we will be reducing capabilities that we believe no longer are a top priority. but in other cases, we will invest in new capabilities to maintain a decisive military edge against a growing array of threats. there's no question, there is no question, that we have to make some tradeoffs. and that we will be taking as a result of that some level of additional but acceptable risk in the budget plan that we release next month. these are not easy choices. we will continue aggressive efforts to weed out waste, reduce overhead, to reform business practices, to
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consolidate our duplicative operations. but budget reductions of this magnitude will inhe have vity tably impact the size and capabilities of our military. and as i have said before, true national security cannot be achieved through a strong military alone. it requires strong diplomas city. requires strong intelligence efforts. and above all, it requires a strong economy, fiscal discipline and effective government. the capabilities, readiness and agility of the force will not be established if congress fails to do its duty and the military is forced to accept far deeper cuts, in particular, the arbitrary across-the-board cuts that are scheduled to take effect in january of 2013
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through the mechanism of sequester. that would force us to shed mission and commitments and capabilities that we believe are necessary to protect core u.s. national security interests and it would result in what we think would be a demoralized and hollow force. that is not something that we intend do. and finally, i'd like to also address our men and women in uniform and the civilian employees who support them who i know have been watching the budget debates here in washington with concern about what it means for them and for their families. you have done everything this country has asked you do and more. you have put your lives on the line and you have fought to make our country safer and stronger.
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i believe the strategic guidance honors your sacrifice and strength.sthe country by building a force equipped to deal with the future. i have no higher responsibility than fighting to protect you and to protect your families and just as you have fought and bled to protect our country, i commit to you that i will fight for you and for your families. there is no doubt that the fiscal situation this country faces is difficult. and in many ways, we are at a crisis point. but i believe that in every crisis, there is opportunity. out of this crisis, we have the opportunity to end the old ways of doing business and to build a modern force for the 21st century that can win today's
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wars and successfully confront any enemy and respond to any threat and any challenge of the future. our responsibility, my responsibility as secretary of defense, is to protect the nation's security and to keep america safe. with this joint force, i am confident that we can effectively defend the united states of america. thank you. >> good morning. as chairman, the a he is my responsibility to work with the joint chiefs to ensure that the armed forces of the united states keep america immune from coercion. >> all right. so, we have been listening to president obama and secretary of defense leon panetta moving
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forward, a nation at war for ten years and the fiscal drain that it's had had on the economy of this country. i have mike viqueira at the white house and i have colonel jack jacobs here on set with me. i want to talk to you you mike, this is a presidential election year and we are tipping off the new year a few days fresh into this, talking about the economy and the president reminding us of foreign policy, obviously highlighting the fact that al qaeda has been diminished, osama bin laden has been captured and killed, moammar gadhafi has been killed, afghanistan is making progress. i mean, it's boom, boom, boom, one, two, three after the other, obviously now trying to highlight where he can shake things up when it comes to the fiscal responsibility, the economy and this government. >> clearly, you have to look at everything through a political prince prism once we head into a presidential election year and it was an unusual if not extraordinary appearance by the president down there at the pentagon in the pentagon press briefing room. you heard the president himself allude to the fact that no president himself has ever gone down there and appeared in that
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venue and for that reason alone, it is extraordinary, but i was really struck by the tone and the words and the tenses that the president used as his -- as he was addressing those reporters down at the pentagon, using the past tense, using phrases like the tide of war receded and we succeeded in defending our nation. we didn't hear phrases in the past like mission accomplished, dare we say it or even peace dividend from early in the '90s at the conclusion of the cold war. but the president clearly there you heard him say it expressly it is time to turn the page and make no mistake this appear ran designed to emphasize and punk wait the fact that the president has followed through on his promises to draw down forces in iraq and begin to draw down in afghanistan as well. and as you correctly point out, ticking off the foreign policy accomplishments both he and secretary panetta did it as well, talking about afghanistan, iraq the killing of osama bin laden, gadhafi being depose and
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other successes that the administration has had and emphasizing the fact this posture will change, leave to colonel jacobs the implications for forced posture and readiness, the defense spending is going to continue to grow, just not going to grow as rapid a rate and obviously, shifting emphasis, as you heard the secretary say from europe to the pacific rim in the middle east. >> you were madly writing notes during both of those speeches so what does it say to you about how we will operate in the future on this leaner, more defined military? >> yeah, this speech is tremendous because of its impact. it's gonna change dramatically. our force structure is going to move from having a significant number of troops who are capable of getting on the ground and holding terrain to more sophisticated means of attacking the enemy. that means we are not going to be on the ground, not going to hold ter rain, not going to be in any place very long. the president in particular, focused on libya as an example,
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secretary of defense did, as an ex-arch what will we are going to do going to use our command and control capability, our capability to attack the enemy using precision-guided new mission. we are not going to have a big army. we are going to have a much smaller army, he talked about force projection, that means aircraft carriers, ladies and gentlemen, aircraft carrier groups, going to spend time in the pacific, the indian oh the mediterranean, not earn canned about the -- europe getting invaded by russia. instead, we are going to be waving the flag out in the pacific to make sure that china doesn't expand any more that what it has and north korea knows we mean business. >> thank you very much for this hour, i appreciate it. mike viqueira at the white house. coming up, the changing political fortunes of mitt romney. can he keep the moment tull going orally stay mr. 25% as the president's re-election team likes to call him? we will talk to "time" magazine's michael sharer about their new cover story and what a difference a month makes. [ male announcer ] say goodbye to "ho-hum,"
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spirited campaign as many of you recall in 2008. we have been friends socially but most importantly, we share the same values, the same philosophy and the same goals for america and that's why i'm so proud to be here standing by his side. >> former gop nominee, senator john mccain, speaking a at up to hall meeting this morning in salem, new hampshire, talking about the man he endorsed just yesterday, former massachusetts governor, mitt romney. you know, what a difference a couple of weeks has really made for mitt romney. just last month, take a look, the cover of "time" magazine read, "why don't you like me." days after his photo finish win in iowa, time's new coverage reads, "so you like me now." join us is "time" magazine's white house correspondent, michael shearer. i appreciate your patience. thanks for waiting. aside from the obvious, winning iowa what is the real difference for romney and his campaign now
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compared to when time published the first article in early december? is it that victory of eight i a iowans coming out over rick santorum? >> there's that but also the fact that there isn't isn't another candidate in the field right now who seems to have the ability to take romney on the when we ran that first cover, newt gingrich was just surging, there was a lot of momentum behind him and romney almost surgically took him apart, romney and his supporters took him apart in iowa, a situation now where rick santorum is the new golden boy, but rick, more so than gingrich really doesn't have the infrastructure with reck rick perry staying in the race, barely polling in new hampshire, i think dish believe that the win in iowa was a big deal for the romney campaign. this is you know, mitt romney who we all knew from 2008 is the guy who got the silver medals, he didn't get a gold medal but aye vot eight votes and history suggests
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you win two of out love of these early contests, most like lit income the middle of next week, do you become the nominee. >> as we are seeing former gop presidential nominee john mccain coming out, senator mccain to talk about the fact that he now endorses him, how important do you thank you is as the romney campaign continues to snowball, as you point out, now they got to move on through new sharp hire and south carolina? >> i think it is important in new hampshire, important among independent voters to love john mccain in 2000 and 2008. remember, mccain and romney were in full battle-month-old four years ago when they were fighting for the -- in the new hampshire primary, the fact that mccain is now willing to bury that hatchet does suggest that, you know, you can get some of the voters who turned against romney last time to come around. the other thing is that mccain endorsement is just one endorse.. they have a whole bump of endorsements lined up on the romney side and you will see this over the coming days and weeks which none of the other candidates really v rick santorum was campaigning in iowa
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with the dug gars with -- but he doesn't have these big powerful political figures. if there were only eight more dug gar, who knows. michael shearer, thank you for joining me this morning. i appreciate it. if you want to check out the romney article for yourself it is in the january 16th edition of "time" magazine. this is the most important election in your lifetime. i don't care how old you are. you-all know it. that's why this level of activity, the iowa caucus is the biggest ever. they thought biggest ever caucus, energy, enthusiasm, i suspect this can be a very big primary turnout. >> republican presidential candidate rick santorum right now featuring at a faith, family and freedom town hall, live pictures of that event, just five days from the new hamp shire primary, santorum is touring the granite state in a bid to capitalize on the strong second place finish from tuesday in iowa. santorum surge is paying div depends, paying them literally, with the former senator raising $1 million since finishing just
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eight votes shy of the top spot in iowa, a far cry from his fund-raising numbers before the race. and through the first nine months of 2011, santorum raised just under $1.3 million. republican front-runner mitt romney raised a staggering $32 million in that same time period. the former governor has spent more than $260,000 on tv ads in new hampshire and you compare that to santorum's modest total of $16,000 in new hampshire tv ads, a big difference. we bring in our political panel now, neil la version institute of politics in manchester, new hampshire and democratic strategist david goodfriend and boris epstein, political columnist for "u.s. news & world report." thank you, gentlemen, for being here. neil, i want to start with you, iowa had seven different front runners various times through this. romney has really held the lead throughout, doing well voters who want to see experience. so, in your estimation, can rick santor
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santorum, can he make a significant dent in the romney lead? >> well, certainly, if there was going to be an earthquake that earthquake will happen here in the granite state. the fact is that challengers tend do well in a state like new hampshire it is an unscripted state, i think he is in the right place to be doing that it is important to keep in mind that mitt romney has a lead here, not necessarily because he is from a neighboring state but because he has been working very hard and working hard for many years, he has been on the ballot before. and that is certainly transmitting into good numbers for him right now. >> david, you know, mitt romney seems to have one very important factor going for him that is the perception that he is the best candidate to beat president obama and now, it does seem that there might be this consensus, as we are just talking to michael shearer about this the fact that they can start laying out these endorsements on the table as they move forward to give the perception as if everybody is behind him on the republican side. >> well, i have been thinking a lot lately about 1992 in new hampshire.
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you will recall then that bill clinton had had a real stumble and the neighboring state of massachusetts had its own darling, paul tsongas. clinton came in second and declared himself the comeback kid. what's interesting to me about that is that you do have this sense that everyone is expecting romney to win. it is baked into the expectations. if he wins by a much smaller margin and there's a surprise in second, somebody else can declare themselves the comeback kid and then slam into south carolina, where i believe mitt romney is going to have some trouble among the conservative evangelical base there so i think the outcome of new hampshire will put romney on top but we all expect that. the question is by how much and who is the surprise second finisher? >> david, talk about south carolina and rick perry is still in this. boris, i want to talk tour we have the debates, too coming up but the one this weekend on sunday before new hampshire, who has the most to win, the most to lose, in your estimation? >> in new hampshire, mitt romney
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has obviously got the most to lose, you look at rick santorum and newt gingrich the most to gain this race is not over yet. mitt romney is doing very w i agree with david. he needs to win by a healthy margin, if he wins new hampshire, a full head of steam. if he he whips by a small margin and newt gingrich is second and newt does have a good infrastructure or rick santorum off a success in iowa does well in new hampshire, then you are right it is up for grabs, most to lose, mitt romney, most to gain, newt gingrich, rick santorum. >> thanks venks neil la vehicle in manchester, new hampshire for us, david goodfriend in washington and boris epstein, political columnist for "u.s. news & world report." again, thank you. a reminder, nbc's david gregory moderates that final presidential debate before tuesday's new hampshire primary. the nbc news/facebook debate airs sunday on nbc,ed special "meet the press," starts at 9 a.m. eastern and postdebate
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republicans in the senate have blocked richard's confirmation. they refused to even give richard an up or down vote. i'm not going to stand by while a minority in the senate puts part ideology ahead of the people we were elected to serve. >> president obama with a controversial recess appointment richard cordray, one of the ways president obama is getting more aggressive can congress, part of a new noticeable and hard ball approach as he ramps up his re-election bid. joining me with big news
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herself, she is the new weekend program host of i don't know the name yet. we'll tease everybody with yet. melissa harris perry, now i get to see msnbc host. con grats. let's get straight to this. it's less than a week into 2012 and it looks like a whole new ball game, a bold obama is coming in. >> this is something he's used infrequently, 29 recess appointments, other presidents have had more than 100 combined recess appointments. to put in someone into this consumer protection -- consumer finance protection bureau, something that they've been trying to block by pretend being they are in session in when they are not really in session. but this is clearly strategic as much as it is substantive. this is about the president saying, i know i've tried to be bipartisan and tried to reach across the aisle but now i'm going to govern. >> wouldn't this be considered
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loophole government because if george w. bush had done this, liberals whofb hitting the room? >> sure. there's no question that part of what happens when a president flexes authority is that the other branches of government push back against it. that's pretty standard. when you're going into an election year, the point of the president is whether or not his supporters will buy the congressional version of this story or whether or not they buy his version. >> either way it looks like it's moving forward. >> i said we don't have a name, right? >> no name yet. >> we should start a twitter hash tag, name melissa's show. >> msnbc host, always a pleasure. if you want to follow the good professor, her thoughts, log onto the nation.com. she's also on twitter. tod her a note. o it for me today. i'll see you back here tomorrow
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11:00 a.m. eastern time every weekday morning. until then follow me on twitter at thomas a. roberts. "now" with alex wagner comes your way. a lot to talk about. she'll have it for you. [ male announcer ] cranberry juice? wake up! ♪
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welcome to the show. republicans just want to have fun. can mitt romney show them a good time? it's thursday, january 5th, and this is "now." joining me today from the new yorker megan mccartel of the atlantic and msnbc political analyst and former chair of the rnc and michael steele and john hielemann. the author of the fourth coming "game change 2" i'm not sure that's actually the title. the gop knows what

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